With the sport of football slowly but surely getting some much needed media attention in recent times, the number of people following the sport has grown exponentially as well. Even prior to IMG and Reliance’s attempt at dragging football into the limelight with the Indian Super League, the sport has always had a rabid fan following, especially the International clubs. As such, playgrounds rife with cricketers have always had a few footballers playing their loved sport in some corner or the other. And it is for these lovers of the beautiful game that I write this post. After all, those dust-ridden grounds and stony pitches may be the birthplace of the next Ronaldinho or Thierry Henry. Every footballer who wishes to improve the physical aspect of the game should follow these 5 fitness tips:
This is perhaps the most basic, well known, and toughest drills to follow. However if followed religiously, it will bring a significant increase in the player’s stamina and speed over a period of time.
Beware, it may seem easy at first, but the uninitiated may have trouble after a couple of laps of jogging juxtaposed with sprinting. Begin with a small number of laps and slowly keep on increasing the number of laps until you stabilize at a good level.
Balance Training & Ankle Exercises
Balance is one of the most understated and crucial aspects of a footballer. It is usually assumed that all footballers have perfect balance, however it is not so. They work hard at it. Luckily, these exercises are not that taxing. Simply stand on a flat surface, lift one leg, stand on the other for 30 seconds, rinse and repeat 4-5 times every day.
An additional element could be added by lifting the foot in the air and swirling the ankle in clockwise and anti-clockwise circles every time.
Arsene Wenger revolutionized English football by initiating a diet at club level, and that small difference led to his team being able to outperform others physically, thus winning the league and cup double in his first full season. This was soon followed by every other club.
Thus, diet is one aspect of training which should never be underestimated. Eat foods rich in protein, say no to fats and heavy carbs, and the difference over time will be noticeable.
Jumping high to power in a header, leaping fast to intercept a ball or trap the ball, all of this needs a sudden burst of energy and good upper body and spinal strength.
To that end, practice plyometric exercises.
Stand on a flat surface, do a small jump on the spot. Follow this up with a bigger leap. Keep at this for 4-5 sets of 10-20 jumps each. But as always, remember to begin slow as the body won’t be able to handle the tremendous strain for which it isn’t accustomed.
Stamina Building & Endurance Training
Football is a game of 90 minutes. It won’t do to get tired after a couple of laps. To that end, players must continuously keep working on their stamina. Running, Cycling, Swimming are all good ways to do this, but the key word is continuity. It should be practiced on a daily basis for the training to have an effect on the body.
And remember, while exercising, always stay hydrated. These are 5 ways in which a footballer can remain in top condition and stay at the peak of his or her game.